by Tony Nigro
You know things are busy in my real life if I completely neglect mentioning one of my favorite movies of last year, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Wes Anderson‘s foray into animation only further shows he’s been making cartoons the whole time. His camera moves, character uniforms, deadpan humor and proscenium composition translate work as well here as in The Royal Tenenbaums. What you get is stop motion Wes Anderson that’s charming, perverse, and dare I say, acceptable for kids. But I mean acceptable in the way Ghostbusters was for me when I was eight. It’s funny enough for a kid to follow, and there are new layers for viewers to peel off through adolescence and adulthood. Mr. Fox has generational lasting power — better than, say, The Wiggles do for anyone over age three.
And it’s real stop motion, with minimal digital interference, allowing for a tactile beauty that’s missing from so much of today’s CG animation — even the most amazing looking, best told stories by Pixar. When Mr. Fox’s fur ruffles unnecessarily from frame to frame, that’s the touch of a human; when you see a lens flare in WALL-E, it’s a filter applied to mimic that touch.
It’s out now on Blu-ray and DVD.